1) ‘Reclaiming Our Futures’ – DPAC Week of Action gets underway
The Disabled People Against Cuts group launched their ‘Reclaiming Our Futures’ week of action on 29th August, running until 4th September.
The week includes events such as exhibitions, rallies, protests and online activism ending with a handing in of a manifesto to government, detailing the demands of disabled people.
Look out for our interviews over the two weeks with Simone Aspis from ALLFIE – an organisation for inclusive education, and with Shaun McGovern and Paula Peters from DPAC talking to us about their work and the week of action.
2) Ed Miliband vows to scrap bedroom tax
Ed Miliband has pledged to scrap the coalition’s bedroom tax policy if Labour win the election in 2015. The pledge is well received by campaigners who have fought to expose the inhumane levy, which has already pushed thousands of people into arrears.
Despite fears from Ed Balls that the money would be difficult to find elsewhere, research has shown that the bedroom tax will actually increase the housing benefits bill by £1.5bn as more and more people are pushed into more expensive private rented accommodation.
Some would like to see Labour pledge to scrap the under-occupancy rules now, but the pledge will nevertheless see welfare campaigners sway to vote for Labour, unions say. After some worries that Labour had lost it’s way and attitude towards the benefits bill, the news of this pledge will reassure some voters.
3) Child poverty rate will create ‘social apartheid’, says charity
The National Children’s Bureau has warned that the 3.5m children growing up in poverty in Britain risk experiencing a ‘social apartheid.’
There are 1.5m more children living in poverty in Britain than there was 40 years ago, and comparing the findings the charity have from a report from 1973, they are able to see the changes taking place.
Poorer children face a range of challenges today including problems with poor housing, overcrowded housing, access to green spaces and play environments, development problems, illnesses and obesity.
The NCB is now calling on government to come up with a strategy to deal with the inequalities created for children through poverty.
4) Yvette Cooper says coalition plans ‘betray’ new Mums
Up to 50,000 women may not be able to return to work after maternity leave due to a ‘triple whammy’ of discrimination, says Yvette Cooper – Labour’s equalities minister.
Around 14% of women who take maternity leave each year come back to find their job is under threat. They may be given lower roles, diminished responsibility and even moved to do a different job upon return to work.
Yvette Cooper says that this sort of discrimination was only made easier when the coalition brought in the £1200 fee to take a case to an employment tribunal, which can stop women from coming forward in the first place.
Further, Cooper says that coalition cuts will hit new mothers hard, after House of Commons research revealed that families are £2000 worse off due to cuts to child tax credit, maternity pay and other financial support.
Add to this rising living costs and pay freezes and cuts and it is clear that having and raising a child is becoming more difficult. The shadow equalities minister said:
“New mums are being betrayed by this Government. They face a triple whammy from maternity discrimination made easier by Ministers, big cuts to family support by George Osborne, and the cost of living with a new baby is far outstripping wages.
“Discrimination against women who take maternity leave is a hidden outrage, and a complete waste for the economy.”
by Kam Sandhu – @KamBass